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Quick Hits: Line Combos Tweaks, Hayes, Bubble vs. Fishbowl, Home Ice & More

July 31, 2020, 8:49 AM ET [89 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Quick Hits: July 31, 2020

1) After a complete off-day on Thursday, the Flyers resume practice today inside the bubble in Toronto. Head coach Alain Vigneault noted on Tuesday that will he tweak some of the line combinations that have been together since last Saturday. After practice, Vigneault will speak to the media via Zoom, along with Claude Giroux, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Travis Sanheim and Phil Myres.

2) Kevin Hayes is the Flyers' nominee for the 2019-20 King Clancy Memorial Trophy; an award for the NHL player "who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community." No Flyers player has won the award, first presented in 1987, while he was with the team. However, Dave Poulin (with Boston) and Shjon Podein (with Colorado) won it after their tenures with the Flyers, and Vincent Lecavalier won it in 2007-08 while with the Tampa Lightning.

3) On the Flyers official website, I took an in-depth look at the team's depth on defense heading into the round robin. It's one of the best mixes in recent team history -- five left-handed and five right-handed shooters, stable regular pairings, a blend of youth and experience, and a variety of different skill-sets and competencies to adjust for matchups and deal with attrition.

4) I think Flyers fans who were following the team in the 1990s and early 2000s will get a kick out of this week's "Therien's Take." This week, Chris Therien compares and contrasts the Bubble and the Fishbowl; the chaotic and raucous atmosphere of the experience of the Flyers playing against the Maple Leafs in the 1999 Stanley Cup playoffs and then back-to-back years (2003 and 2004) in the early 2000s versus the special challenges presented to players by life and hockey inside the Secure Zone in Toronto. Bundy also gives some observations on the Flyers-Penguins exhibition game.

5) Later today, Chris and I will debut a new weekly social-media based segment called "Bubble Business," in which we talk to a Flyers player about team life inside the Bubble. Today, we'll speak to Scott Laughton.

6) In today's edition of Flyers Daily on Flyers Broadcast Network, Jason Myrtetus and I discussed the positives from the exhibition games and some areas that will still need to be tightened up for the round robin and the playoffs. To listen, click here.

7) Today in Flyers History: On July 31, 1995, longtime stalwart two-way center Joel Otto signed a three-year contract with the Flyers as an unrestricted free agent. The Flyers beat out an offer from the New York Rangers for Otto's services.

In his first year with the Flyers, Otto posted 41 points in a 3rd line role and placed 7th in the Selke Trophy balloting. The next season, the three-time Selke finalist placed 5th and the Flyers later reached the Stanley Cup Final.


Flyers Announce "Home Ice" Launch for 2020 Playoffs

On Thursday, the Flyers organization announced the roll-out of a technology called "Flyers Home Ice," which is designed to recreate elements of a home playoff game at the Wells Fargo Center in lieu of home-ice availability during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Text of the organization's press release follows below:

The puck will officially drop for the 2019-20 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs this Sunday and will mark the first time in history that all Flyers playoff games will be held outside of Philadelphia and without fans. These anomalous factors have not dampened the enthusiasm of fans across Philadelphia as the Flyers continue their quest for the Stanley Cup. To help support the Philadelphia fans' passion, interest, and desire to connect with the action on the ice, the Flyers are introducing Flyers Home Ice presented by Tata Consultancy Services, a first-of-its-kind, second-screen viewing experience.

Developed as a companion to the game's NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBC Sports Network broadcasts, Flyers Home Ice presented by Tata Consultancy Services will bring the excitement of watching a Flyers game live at the Wells Fargo Center right into fans' homes. This technology will deliver Flyers in-arena content to simulate the experience of being at the arena for the playoffs.

Flyers Home Ice presented by Tata Consultancy Services can be accessed for free at PhiladelphiaFlyers.com/Playoffs, beginning 20 minutes ahead of each Qualifying Round and Playoff game.

"The level of excitement and entertainment inside the Wells Fargo Center during a Flyers game is unmatched," said Mike Shane, Chief Business Officer for the Flyers and Wells Fargo Center. "There are certain moments Flyers fans experience that are unforgettable: Lou Nolan's iconic voice announcing the PECO Power Play, Lauren Hart's passion as she sings our National Anthem, our goal horn and song blaring as 20,000 fans celebrate as one. Flyers Home Ice will deliver these traditions to fans even though the games are happening elsewhere."

The full program, designed and orchestrated by the Flyers Marketing team, will include elements of the traditional in-arena production. Pre-game features will include the National Anthem performed by Lauren Hart, team lineup announcements by Flyers' legendary PA Announcer Lou Nolan, and some new elements created specifically for the Flyers' 2020 playoffs. Traditional fan-favorites such as the team's goal horn and goal song ("Feel the Shake" by Jetboy) will ignite the Philly faithful from the comfort of their living room.

Features throughout the game will cater to every type of fan and will include live stat updates similar to those posted on the arena's center-hung scoreboard, games hosted by Flyers In-Arena Host Andrea Helfrich, live polling, surprise special guests, and plenty of antics from team mascot, Gritty.

"Flyers Home Ice will allow fans to truly immerse themselves in the game and will serve as a companion to the world-class broadcast delivered by NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBC Sports," said Shane. "The platform will work in seamless concert with the television broadcast."

As a supplement to the NBC Sports television broadcast, the free, second-screen experience will be delivered to the majority of fans' homes through Xfinity Broadband. Being a part of Comcast Spectacor (a subsidiary of the Comcast Corporation), the Flyers are backed by the resources shared between NBCUniversal and Xfinity.

Tata Consultancy Services, a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, has signed on as the presenting sponsor of the 2020 Flyers Playoffs and Flyers Home Ice. "Technology is playing a key role in helping fans stay connected to the sports they love during the pandemic," said Michelle Taylor, Head of Global Sports Sponsorships for Tata Consultancy Services. "Tata Consultancy Services is thrilled to partner with Comcast Spectacor to sponsor this cutting-edge sports companion technology that delivers immersive first-of-its-kind second-screen experiences."

"Flyers Home Ice is a perfect embodiment of the Flyers playoff mantra of 'Anytime. Anywhere.' This slogan captures the attitude the team will bring with them to Canada. With Flyers Home Ice, the Marketing team came up with a way to deliver on that same promise for our fans," said Valerie Camillo, President of Business Operations for the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers held a League-leading home record of 25-6-4 before gameplay was paused in March, and in the NHL's most recent Fan Choice Awards, the Wells Fargo Center was crowned the league's best arena. At the opening of the 2019-2020 season, the building unveiled major technology and seating transformations with industry-firsts like the Assembly Room, Rage Room and Kinetic 4K LED center-hung scoreboard.
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